Tags: chile miners rescue

Chile Makes Final Preparations to Rescue Miners

Tuesday, 12 Oct 2010 08:32 AM


Chilean rescue workers will make their final preparations today before attempting to release 33 miners trapped more than 600 meters (1,970 feet) underground for more than two months.

Officials plan to start the rescue operation at midnight and begin extracting the miners early tomorrow after a drill reached the tunnels that have been home to the trapped workers since Aug. 5, Mining Minister Laurence Golborne told reporters at the site yesterday.

“What began as a possible tragedy, we hope -- and thank God -- seems to be ending as a true blessing,” Chilean President Sebastian Pinera told reporters yesterday in Quito after meeting his Ecuadorean counterpart.

Rescuers completed practice runs yesterday in which they rehearsed the extraction and transportation of the miners to a nearby hospital, Health Minister Jaime Manalich said. Medical workers are focused on ensuring that the miners are prepared to rise to the surface in a process that could prove physically and emotionally stressful, he told reporters.

Four rescue workers will travel down the well to assist from the underground tunnels, remaining until after the last miner has resurfaced, Manalich said. The operation may start before midnight if all the preparations and tests are successfully completed, Golborne said.

Remote Medicals

The miners, who are eating meals rich in minerals and protein to prevent nausea and stabilize blood pressure during the ascent, are being examined remotely by medical officials on the surface. Ten miners have been identified by medical authorities as being the most in need of special care, Manalich said.

The miners will wear elastic bands on their lower extremities and a waistband during the 15- to 20-minute ascent that will help ensure proper blood circulation and prevent a reduction in arterial pressure and possible fainting, the health minister said. Rescue workers will supply the miners with emergency oxygen in case dust on the ascent causes breathing problems, he said.

The miners will be split into three groups for the rescue. The first group will provide information to rescuers and possibly help with the operation, the health minister said. The weakest will then come out, followed by the rest.

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2010-32-12
Tuesday, 12 Oct 2010 08:32 AM
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